“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Schenectady in Schenectady County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The American Locomotive Company

American Locomotive Company Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, November 11, 2020
1. American Locomotive Company Marker
In 1901, the Schenectady Locomotive Works, manufacturer of steam locomotives since 1848, merged with seven smaller companies (including Brooks Locomotive Works and Richmond Locomotive Works) to form ALCO, the American Locomotive Company headquartered in Schenectady, New York. Within four years it had added the Montreal Locomotive Works (1904) and Rogers Locomotive Works in 1905 to make it second only to Baldwin as the world's largest maker of steam locomotives.

The success of ALCO and General Electric Company, the leading manufacturer of turbines and electrical equipment, resulted in an employment boom in Schenectady, whose population more than doubled from 31,000 in 1900 to 72,826 by 1910. Many of the city's workers were employed at one of the two giant plants.

As the world's second largest manufacturer of steam locomotives, ALCO invested in diesel electric technology. Partnering with General Electric and Ingersoll Rand, ALCO built the first diesel electric locomotives in 1924. Another ALCO division built diesel passenger engines, which it manufactured for the New York Central Railroad in 1928. By the 1940s, ALCO
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had captured 40% of the diesel locomotive market.

Competition and falling sales led ALCO to diversify into products such as nuclear plant components and oil drilling equipment, but its financial position continued to weaken. Declining profits forced its sale to Worthington in 1964 and ended its operations in 1969. One of its subsidiaries, ALCO Engines, continued production of diesel engines through 1979.

Left: A plaque from one of ALCO's steam locomotives #48011, built and completed in April, 1910.

Below: Over its lifetime, ALCO built 90,000 locomotives, including 75,000 steam and 15,000 diesel locomotives for railroads the world over. Today, ALCO's patented designs are still being manufactured in India while many of its locomotives operate at railroads around the world.

Main Image: Schenectady County Historical Society
Erected by Schenectady County, ALCO.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1910.
Location. 42° 49.686′ N, 73° 55.818′ W. Marker is in Schenectady, New York, in Schenectady County. Marker can be reached from Erie Blvd/. Marker is on the ALCO Heritage Trail. It is most easily reached from Harborside
American Locomotive Company Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, November 11, 2020
2. American Locomotive Company Marker
View along the Mohawk River at the former ALCo site in Schenectady.
Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Schenectady NY 12308, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. ALCo's Legacy (a few steps from this marker); World War II (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); "Big Boy" (about 600 feet away); Seeley House (approx. ¼ mile away); Casey Jones (approx. ¼ mile away); Streamliners (approx. 0.3 miles away); "Jupiter" (approx. 0.3 miles away); Schenectady (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Schenectady.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 12, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 291 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 12, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 27, 2023